“My name is Michael,” he said as we walked. He was still holding my hand and his cool skin against mine set my nerve endings on fire.
Thoughts escaped me as I tried to form a sentence. “I-I’m Tessa,” I stammered, and then my mind went blank as I looked up at him.
Michael’s blue eyes flashed against the light and I did a double take. I only ever saw something like that on a cat before. Never a human.
But then I noticed he still wasn’t breathing.
Instead of that same nervous anticipation I felt since the first moment I saw him, the first wave of fear washed over me so suddenly, it took my breath away.
His nostrils flared and his blue eyes met mine as his lips lifted into a small smile. “I promise you, Tessa,” he said, and the sound of his baritone voice slid over me like a caress, “you will come to no harm while in my presence.”
Deep down, I wanted to believe him. I felt safer with him — that strange man I only met a few moments ago — than I ever felt with anyone in my life.
I couldn’t fathom why. Trust was something that was earned over time, but yet, every cell in my body screamed that he was telling me the truth. That he would keep me from harm.
The longer I was in his presence, the more my body vibrated with the vehemence of my desire for him. But it was more than that. Somehow, I could sense that he wasn’t a normal man.
Perhaps he wasn’t a vampire, vampires didn’t exist — right? But he was special. I could feel it. Judging by the muscles I could see through the material of his clothes alone, I knew he could keep his word if I was in any danger.
He looked to me like a skilled fighter, not so much a skilled lover, but then I thought, maybe, those went hand in hand, and I trembled.
Michael’s grip on my hand tightened a fraction as if he read my mind. Or, at least he picked up on my unease.
Why would I would be in danger at all, whether it was with him, or some other unknown threat?
He stopped walking and faced me, but didn’t let me go. The cool flesh of his other hand reached up and touched my cheek with a gentle, almost reverent touch and my toes curled in response as I tried to remember the simple fundamentals of breathing.
But then I forgot how to breathe completely as he closed the short distance between us and kissed me.
© Sarah Doughty